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Reliving Fond Memories
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by David Mink (archives)
August 10, 2004
David visits Disneyland on the Mansion's 35th birthday.

35 Years and Still Very Unlivable

Monday, August 09, 2004 was the 35th birthday of the venerable Haunted Mansion. This “ride? remains a fine example of what we have come to know as Disney Entertainment. This attraction, as well as The Pirates of the Caribbean, continues to play to packed houses each operating day, which is remarkable for an older non rollercoaster attraction. Without riding “The Mansion?, I don’t feel like I’ve had a Disney Day. I must hear that forlorn organ in the Foyer and smell the musty air conditioning!

I came to the park this day to find out how Disneyland was celebrating. On Main Street, I walked to Disneyana. I asked the CM if indeed the Mansion’s birthday was today. He replied it was, and directed my attention to the shelves of merchandise for the event. There were key rings, mugs, magnets and a purse all emblazoned with the attraction poster. I asked if there were anything special to commemorate the actual birthday, a pin or something. He said there wasn’t, but a special watch offered across the street, a special edition (only 35 made). The Disney Gallery also had something going and I should go over there.

Which I did.

Entering into the Gallery, I spied people squatting, squinting and reading the artwork carefully. Nearby a Cast Member stood behind a small table. She wore a Happy Birthday sticker you could get at the happy birthday party at Plaza Inn. And where you signed your name, she had written “Haunted Mansion?. Other Cast Members in the gallery wore them as well.

I asked her what was happening for the birthday. Well, she said happily, they are having a “scavenger hunt? within the Gallery. She handed me two pieces of paper. The first is a series of questions. The answers are in the gallery, and I write down the answers on the second, slimmer piece of paper. When I have finished, a Cast Member will check the answers. If they are all correct, then the answer sheet becomes a “First In Line? pass to be taken to the Haunted Mansion and handed to the butler or maid in attendance

Welcome, foolish mortals, to...
The Haunted Mansion Mystery Tour
The Disney Gallery
August 9, 2004

Celebration 35 Spine-Tingling Years of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Follow the clues around the Disney Gallery to
reveal little-known secrets to the Mansion.
The clues could be anywhere, so start looking.
There's no turning back now!

  1. What is the name of the butler who would have guided Guests through an early, walk-through concept of the Mansion?
  2. In what year did Imagineer Ken Anderson begin creating renderings for a "Haunted House" attraction?
  3. What are the names of the Singing Busts?
  4. How many ghost fish are there?
  5. Within the concept drawing of the Mansion by Colin Campbell, there is a skeleton sitting on the entry gate. What is it holding?
  6. Where is the Phantom Drummer from?
  7. Who played Madame Leota in The Haunted Mansion film?
  8. There is something strange imbedded in the road leading up to Gracey Manor in Nathan Schroeder's rendering of the exterior. What is it?
  9. What famous literary character provided the inspiration for one of the changing portraits?
  10. What is the name of the transforming horseman?

Bonus Question: Name the three Hitchhiking Ghosts!

What else is there? I asked. Are there any pins or something special? Haunted Mansion fried cheesecake…anything?? She didn’t think so; she hadn’t heard anything at that point in the day (it was the afternoon). She did say that there is 20% off on all Print-On-Demand today.

I kept the quiz for my collection. I thanked the Cast Member, leaving the Gallery and heading to the Mansion. The CMs were wearing the birthday stickers also. The wait was five minutes. I rode my favorite all time attraction three times in a row. That is my salute. I treasure this ride, and always will. I took the time to come down and pay my respects. The Mansion looks good, and wears well.

Happy birthday, Haunted Mansion!!

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-- David Mink

Reliving Fond Memories is normally posted the third Wednesday of each month.

The opinions expressed by our David Mink, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted August 10, 2004